What Is A HEAL Hero? Words from Karen Jones U.S. Board Director

Most of the time when we read the HEAL blog, it is from someone deep in the midst of the red clay. A story from someone who has given up the comforts of home, the ease of seeing family and friends and so many things that many of us take for granted like central heat and air, roads without potholes, reliable internet service and yes even Chic-fil-a (sorry Trey).  Their stories are filled with lessons and blessings that they have experienced by being a servant to the women and children at the James Place.  They are amazing and it is always uplifting to hear from them and to be a witness to what God is doing in their lives. I think reading this blog offers us a chance to hear a story from a HEAL Hero and see what they are doing with God’s help in making a difference.  It is also encouraging for us all to look for ways to let God be seen in our daily lives.

About 5 minutes ago I was wondering 1) why did Tina ask me to write something for the blog? and2) what is something unique I can share about my experience with Heal? and 3) how do I include the stateside angle as someone on the Heal Ministries Board of Directors?  I thought maybe I would tell you about me (no mission back ground)  why I am a part of HEAL (ask God!)  and what goes on at a board meeting (business). Or maybe I would share some of the great plans for the future (non-event campaign), or that we have lots going on (artisan trunk shows, Step It Up campaign, or ask if you have seen the new video?) or maybe share the story about what happened when I tried to plan an oyster roast fundraiser in Charleston SC that got washed out (can someone say 1000 year record rainfall on the day of?)

The truth is this blog challenges me every time I read it and now as I try to write for it.  It also reminds me that I am a person with a heart for this ministry andwhile I would love to be able to spend a lot of time in Uganda the reality is right now I can’t.   Instead I spend my efforts to try to help Tina and the Board of Directors come up with ways to keep the ball rolling along at The James Place. Thankfully God has reminded me that if you are reading this blog and are interested in HEAL HEROs or Hearts Everywhere Reflecting Our Savior, that I might be able to say something to encourage and challenge you too, because a HEAL HERO comes in many forms.

I can’t lie, The James Place is a great place to visit BUT the simple truth is there are other ways to help even if it isn’t changing diapers, teaching bible study, washing clothes, holding babies, cleaning up for the millionth time,  pushing 4 swings at once , wiping noses or being hugged from all sides. Folks, HEAL is a very small ministry making very big waves in the Jinja community.  The James Place is running because of people like you. So for me to be honest: we need even more HEROs everywhere just like the ones we have to help us spread the word, to help us keep the lights on, to help us keep serving over 400 meals a week, to fund the preschool program, to keep being able to send kids to the doctor, to encourage families and to keep teaching sustainable trades to our mothers in the programs. We need to keep up our efforts wherever we are to help keep the gates open to all those who are in need. 

So thanks to every single one of you: the ones who get to be the hands and feet of Jesus in Jinja.. you are a HERO,  to our friends who are helping us find new leads for selling our beautiful artisan products, you are a HERO!  To all the STEP it UP teams getting out in your community: You are a HERO! To the sponsors and donors and prayer warriors: You are a HERO.. To my fellow U.S. and Ugandan board member: you are a HERO! To Tina, Trey and all of the James Place staff: you are a HERO!

How do I wrap this up? I said earlier that reading the blog challenges me. We can challenge ourselves each day right where we are to make a concerted sacrifice for these fragile families.  The need is great.

The reality is it takes both big and little things to make it all work.  What if we here at home ask what gifts, talents and opportunities we have been given that we can direct toward this ministry?  Are we open to understanding what God’s calling us to do and are we courageous in that call?  Think about it, just because we aren’t there doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of helping the frontline.

So now here is a three-prong challenge for us all: For more prayers. Can we commit a certain time each day to lift up the teams and staff and families at the James Place? For more energy: will each of us reading this far down the page help find new hearts to reach? new donors for our next campaign? create new stories to tell? 

And finally, while nobody likes the big ask it has to be included: HEAL needs treasures too.  Will each of us help by accepting responsibility for supporting these families? Let me just throw this out to everyone: maybe next time WE are thinking about getting a coffee at the fancy coffee place, why don’t WE save the money? Keep it up for a month? Maybe challenge a friend? What a Hero WE would be to send that savings to HEAL.  Thinking about a Chic-fil-a? Why not remember Trey Weir who loves them but is in Jinja serving.  Are WE willing to skip our weekly tasty chicken treat and after a month of sacrificing send that to HEAL?  Wait: I just got the best idea EVER: There are only 9 more Sundays til Christmas!  What is that in shopping days? It will be here before you know it.. SOOO…If WE really want to finish off our shopping list early WE could sign up for a HEAL Sponsorship. WE will be finished with our shopping and HEAL will make a beautiful cardto give to everyone on Our list .. How About that for a gift that keeps on giving?

We can all be HEROs: H-earts E-verywhere R-eflecting O-ur S-avior! 


Karen Jones
U.S. Board Director